Colourful Nupps – “Polka Dot” Knitting

This tutorial is about a technique I discovered almost accidentally when I was testing different ways to knit nupps. At some point, it seemed fun to try and make them in a different colour. 

The result was very interesting. Little colourful nupps turned simple stockinette stitch into a beautifully textured polka dot creation. This effect can be used in many various ways, especially in projects made for kids.

Imagine a plain red hat with little white nupps scattered all around. It will look like a strawberry! One red nupp added to a pocket will definitely resemble a ladybug and a cluster of purple nupps – grapes. There are so many creative ideas we can easily realise with the help of the little colourful nupps.

The best part – it is not complicated to add them to any project worked in any stitch pattern. Because nupps are worked on one stitch, you can introduce them to your project without adjusting the pattern in any way. Simply make a nupp wherever you want with whatever colour you like.

HERE’S HOW TO DO IT STEP BY STEP:

If you are a visual learner, click here to watch a video tutorial that shows how to knit colourful nupps and how to make sure they don’t unravel.

1. In a right side row, work to the spot where you plan to make a nupp.

2. Pick up yarn in a contrasting colour and use it as your working yarn. There is no need to attach it to your knitting in some special way. Simply leave a small tail (around 5cm / 2″ long) and start making a nupp as follows:

Knit the next stitch, but don’t slip the original stitch off the left needle yet. 

[Make a yarn over. Now insert the right needle into the same stitch on the left needle and knit another stitch from it = 2 more loops added to the right needle.] 

Repeat instructions in the brackets two more times until you have 7 loops coming from the same stitch that is still on your left needle. Here’s how to do it.

Make the stitches and yarn overs quite loose, and make sure they lay flat on the right needle and do not cross. 

Generally, nupps are made with 7 loops, but you can also make them smaller with only 5 loops. Or, you can make them puffier with as many as 11 loops. This way you will change the look of the nupp. The ones knit with 5 loops will be smaller, while the ones knit with 11 loops will be bigger. 

Keep in mind though that more loops are harder to knit together (we’ll get to that a bit later), so if you feel frustrated by knitting bigger nupps, stay with the classic-seven-loops version.

3. Drop the original stitch from the left needle.

4. Now insert the left needle from left to right into the 7 loops of the nupp so that the left needle is at the front of the right needle. Without taking the right needle out, wrap it with the yarn (we still use the yarn in a contrasting colour!) and knit 7 loops together through the back loop. Click here to watch this step.

5. Cut the yarn in a contrasting colour leaving a 5cm / 2″ tail at the back of the work.

6. Pick up the yarn in the main colour and continue to work in pattern until you get to the next spot where you plan to add a nupp. 

Because the yarn we used to make the nupp is not attached to the working yarn, the nupp will look a bit messy, especially after you work a few more rows. You can clearly see it in the photo below:

Besides, for that same reason a nupp can unravel if it gets pulled (even if it gets pilled by curious little fingers :-). We can’t let that happen, right?

Here’s what we should do to prevent these issues, and to take care of the tails that are now hanging at the back of the nupp:

1. Turn the work to the wrong side.

2. Pull each yarn tail a bit to shape the nupp and make it more uniform. Here’s how.

3. Now tie both tails with a square knot.

4. For a perfect look, weave in each tail within the nupp. I personally, don’t find it necessary. Simply cutting the tails works just fine and saves quite a few precious minutes 🙂

Here’s how the back of my swatch looks with tails tied and cut:

That’s it – now you know a fun way to make unique colourful projects.


If you enjoyed this tutorial,
here’s something else you might find helpful:

“Neat Side Edges” Book

Learn twelve ways to make side edges of a knitted project nice and tidy. Plus, ways to fix side edges, and a way to improve edges of finished projects.


Happy knitting!

Maryna Shevchenko - www.10rowsaday.com

Let’s be friends on GoodReads 🙂

Colourful nupps - polka dot knitting | 10 rows a day
Polka Dot knitting | 10 rows a day
Colourful nupps step by step | 10 rows a day